Australian lamb and mutton exports surged last month, with
lamb increasing 45% year-on-year to 15,200 tonnes and mutton
up 79% on the previous January to 12,800 tonnes.
In January, there were also record beef exports from
Australia (55,147 tonnes) as a result of increased supply
from sustained dry conditions, the latest Rabobank
agribusiness monthly for February showed.
In New Zealand, total sheep meat exports for December
increased 51% on the previous December to 35,157 tonnes,
driven by record export volumes to China, which increased
threefold to 11,053 tonnes.
However, reflecting the weak state of the major export
markets, overall returns ($234 million) increased 4%
year-on-year with the average export value in December
settling at $6.66kg freight on boat (FOB) - the lowest
average return per kg since September 2008.
Lamb prices have continued to ease since the beginning of
December, underpinned by dry conditions and tightening feed
supply, as well as sluggish returns from export markets.
North Island lamb prices averaged 464c/kg at the start of
February, 33% lower than a year earlier, while South Island
lamb prices fell 29%, averaging 466c/kg.
December wool exports were 25% larger year-on-year at 8300
tonnes, bringing the cumulative seasonal total to 57,500
tonnes (clean), a 17.4% increase year-on-year.
The value of all wool exports for the 2012-13 season declined
15% year-on-year, driven by lower fine and coarse crossbred
wool export prices.
Average export values during December for venison hit a
five-year low, with returns settling at $10.31 kg FOB.
New Zealand beef exports during December increased 17%
year-on-year and remained relatively steady on the five-year
December average, at 32,831 tonnes.
Underpinning the growth was an increase in shipments to the
US (15,757 tonnes), which jumped 29% on the previous
December, with ongoing tight US domestic supplies supporting
demand for New Zealand product.
New Zealand milk production was around 5% higher this season
to date but dry weather was taking its toll in the North
Island, with production now falling significantly.
Milk flows were expected to start falling behind the previous
year on a monthly basis from February onwards.
The detection of dicyandiamide (DCD) in New Zealand dairy
products had created headlines globally. While not a health
risk, the uncertainty for consumers and the need for testing
regimes and regulations worldwide would take some time to
address, the report said.
The BNZ's latest Rural Wrap said many parts of the North
Island were still dealing with dry conditions and it was
hurting pastoral farming in particular.